The 90-Day Ketogenic Diet & Intermittent Fasting Experiment: How Does It Work?
For the next 3 months, I decided to eat +160g of fat a day. Why would I do something this stupid, you ask? Because I am trying to get into the best shape of my life while increasing longevity.
Most of my life I have tried to find ways to optimize my body’s potential. Because of this, I have had the opportunity of trying numerous diets and training styles claiming to be the best.
If you have spent any time looking for a diet program on the internet, you know exactly what I am talking about. Every few years there’s some new miracle health secret being discussed or marketed all over social media sites like Facebook and Reddit. These fads even infiltrate top-level health forums and have fitness “gurus” swearing they are the answer to your prayers.
The ketogenic diet, however, is different. It has changed my life, and it deserves your attention. Not only has it helped me reduce my body fat and improved my cholesterol levels, but it also helped me feel more energetic in my day-to-day life and reduced my joint pain.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb/high-fat diet that has been gaining popularity in recent years because of its very specific approach to controlling one’s weight.
The ketogenic diet certainly isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution, no diet is. However, since it has done wonders on my body, I am compelled to share more about it.
Because I had a lot of friends asking me about how I got in such great shape and why I looked/felt so healthy, I decided to perform an experiment and show others how this diet/lifestyle works. Providing a guide of sorts so other may test it out for themselves.
I also received a lot of pushback from friends who thought what I am doing is unhealthy.
I decided to do this study to show them that the program works and to dispel whatever misconception they have about the Keto diet and Intermittent Fasting.
At the end of the day, I am hoping that this study will inspire those who want to try the program to take action so they can experience a healthier and better life.
What is the Keto Diet:
Put simply; the ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fat and very low in carbs which forces your body to start a process called nutritional ketosis. This means your body starts to burn stored fats for energy due to the lack of glucose in the bloodstream.
Glucose, also known as the body’s primary fuel source, is converted from carbohydrates. This is found in dozens of everyday food items — from white bread to fruits and vegetables.
Limiting these carb-rich foods to 25g a day is paramount to the ketogenic diet, but it doesn’t stop there.
To supply your body’s nutritional needs while maintaining ketosis, you will actually shift to eating high-fat foods with a moderate amount of protein. For example Fish, certain nuts, eggs, and most meat sources.
I use this Macro Calculator to figure out where my calories need to come from https://ketogains.com/ketogains-calculator/
Note: These macros are more of a guideline and not the rule.
As far as benefits go, the keto diet is usually applied with weight loss in mind. However, it is also shown to result in a number of benefits including increased energy levels, healthier inflammatory response, and improved blood sugar balance (among other things).
What is Intermittent Fasting:
For those who do not know what Intermittent Fasting (IF) is, it is basically a “cycle” between periods of fasting and healthy eating (NOT OVEREATING.)
A popular form of IF is the 16/8 method which entails fasting for 16 hours every day with an 8-hour eating window. Traditionally, during the fast you only consume water. However, some have been known to drink black coffee as there is some debate as to its effects on autophagy and fat loss.
I will be doing a full 24hrs worth of fasting before consuming my food. During every fast I will drink 3L of water so that I can keep my body hydrated and running efficiently.
With IF, insulin levels drop significantly — thus, accelerating the fat-burning mechanism of the body. It is also shown to reduce free radicals and boost the cellular repair processes in the body.
While there is undoubtedly more to IF than what I have mentioned, the above notes cover what you need to know for this study.
Combining the Keto Diet with Intermittent Fasting
By understanding their individual uses, you may think that the Keto diet and IF will be too taxing on the body when used together.
However, Based on my research, I believe that I have found the perfect way to piece them together into a single system and with the right implementation, one can incorporate the effects of being in ketosis with that of fasting.
For example, while gaining muscle mass is much harder with a ketogenic diet, IF solves this by improving the body’s insulin sensitivity, blood glucose regulation, and growth hormone production.
Fasting can also help your body achieve ketosis much faster.
Once you are in ketosis, it will be much easier to stick to your IF schedule since you will experience fewer hunger pains.
Remember that IF keeps your metabolism high, which helps you adapt quickly to your reduced carb intake.
Finally, being in ketosis while fasting allows your body to start using your body fat as a fuel source which leads to lower BF% and a leaner body overall.
If all these are proven to be true, then the Keto and IF combination would be a breakthrough.
With this 90-day Keto & IF experiment, I aim to affirm these claims by using my own body.
People commit to many diets and fitness routines for various reasons. Some do it to overcome physical concerns while others simply want to preserve good health.
My motivation for this routine is simple: I just want my passion and experiences to impact other people’s lives positively.
By acting as a “first-mover,” I hope to encourage readers to join the experiment and experience a healthier and better life.
I also want to help my medical friends and vegan followers to obtain a deeper understanding of how these practices affect the body.
Additionally, there’s a bonus for me as a biohacker looking to fully explore my body’s potential — as far as my DNA allows.
Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the experiment.
Here’s the breakdown of the experiment:
To test my hypothesis that a high-fat diet, like the Keto diet, in conjunction with intermittent fasting can help fight high cholesterol, increase HDL, decrease body fat, decrease/eliminate joint pains, and accelerate muscle growth.
Throughout this experiment, I will use the following key measurements to track my progress:
• Reductions in body fat percentage
• Increases in muscle mass
• Improvements in endurance and strength at the gym (See Google Sheets)
While I have calculated measurements of these pieces of information, I will be using DexaFit scans for confirmation purposes.
All of these will be recorded and tracked in Google Sheets and available once the experiment has concluded.
My BMR: 1697/cals
Calories Consumed (T/Th/Sat/Sun): 2196/cals
Calories Consumed (After 24hr Fast): 400cals
I will be honest, coming across Ruled.me definitely made transitioning into this lifestyle a lot easier. They have been a huge resource around understanding certain aspects of the Ketogenic diet, and they provide a number of fun recipes that make food fun.
Another great resource has been Dominic D’Agostino (@DominicDAgosti2) and the work he is doing with the ketogenic diet. After hearing him speak on The Joe Rogan Podcast (Ep:994), I was excited to find more information from him.
I recommend both of these resources for anyone wanting to understand more about the ketogenic diet or trying to answer questions that they might have about the diet.
To summarize this experiment, I will be following the ketogenic diet for 90-days without taking a break. I will also be fasting for 24hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. By the end of each 24 hours, I will workout and cap it off with a keto meal that only has 25 grams of carbs and a load of fat. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, I will be eating 3–4 meals.
The majority of my calories will be consumed on my non-workout days. On non-fasting days I will be consuming a normal amount of calories, as I am not looking to make up for the calories, I did not consume during my fast.
During the fast the only thing I will be consuming is water. No black coffee. No zero calorie foods or beverages. WATER ONLY.
Workout and Cardio:
On Mondays, I will be working out Back and Bi’s. On Wednesdays, I will be working out chest, Shoulders, and Triceps. On Fridays, I will be doing Legs.
My exercises follow a TUT (time under tension) style. Doing 4 sets of 12–8 reps starting with lighter weight and gradually increasing.
Speed is the name of the game with contracting/squeezing the muscle and slowing down when releasing the weight (similar to performing a negative rep.)
With a 60sec rest period. All workouts will consist of 6–9 exercises total based on the body part or parts that are being trained that day.
It is important to note that no variables are changing in regards to my workout, from before or during the experiment. This is the same training style I have used for the last couple years. The only things that change are the amount of weight at which I use. As my strength goes up, I go up in weight to keep the same type of rep range and difficulty.
At the end of every workout, I do 13 minutes of HIIT cardio.
To keep my energy levels up during strength training, I use a couple of pre-workout supplements: For energy and pump I take Naked Energy (It’s Keto Approved), and for strength and endurance I mix in a scoop of Julian Bakery exogenous ketones. I have found that this really takes my workouts to the next level. I always suggest getting these two supplements to anyone that wants to get into keto.
Why I Do Cardio After My Workout
I keep my cardio towards the end of a workout, always. I do this because I’ve learned that lifting before cardio is much better for fat loss and workout energy efficiency. It takes a lot of effort to move heavy weights, so I do not want to waste it all by running beforehand!
To achieve a ripped/lean look your body needs to use your stored fat as fuel. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first. When you lift weights, you typically use glycogen as fuel. By lifting weights before cardio, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores. Knocking out your cardio after you crush the weights will burn more fat!
If You Aren’t Tracking It, You Aren’t Measuring It
For the sake of this experiment, I decided to get some baseline data on the measurements I am tracking.
First of all, I got my blood tested to acquire the necessary information, such as my thyroid stimulating hormone, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, and LDL.
The next thing I did was obtain my DexaFit scans, which gave me data about my body fat percentage, muscle mass profile, and other physiological data.
Here are the results:
• Total Body Fat Percentage: 17.6% (translates to 8–9% BF using calipers)
• Total Mass: 164.4 lbs.
• Fat Tissue: 28.9 lbs.
• Lean Tissue: 128.8 lbs.
• BMC: 6.7 lbs.
• Visceral Fat: 0.37 lbs.
My Starting Pictures
For my blood test results, here’s the data for the thyroid stimulating hormone and fasting lipid panel:
Starting the experiment
Now that the initial preparations are done, it is time to kick off the experiment itself.
Based on my experience, 24-hour fasts will get me into ketosis much faster than other methods like the fat fasting technique. To make the fast easier, I generally start my fast about 3–4 hrs before I go to bed the night before your full day fast. That means if I am going to fast all day Sunday, I start the fast on Saturday night right after my final meal. That way when I wake up, I am 11–12 hrs into my fast.
Also, I make sure to get 8 hrs of sleep. Better sleep helps with controlling food cravings.
If all goes well, I should be in full ketosis when I wake up on day-1 of this experiment.
It should be noted that I tried the keto diet for about six months earlier this year (January 1, 2017 — July 18, 2017.) When I left for vacation in july I stopped and have been eating a standard American diet (pizza and milkshakes) for the past three months. Starting Oct 1st I will be going back to Keto for the next 90 days.
What does a typical day of keto eating look like?
For the keto diet, the meal plan would comprise mainly of one grass-fed organic steak, fifteen large Brussel sprouts, and ¼ cup of cauliflower rice.
To avoid diet burnout, I will occasionally throw in a few keto-approved dishes alongside these essentials.
To ensure the high-fat content of each meal, the vegetables will be glazed in butter. The rice must also be steam-cooked with organic butter and chicken broth.
Since the ketogenic diet does not have strict rules when it comes to mealtimes, I chose to stick to having three-four meals a day.
Here is a sample menu to give you an idea of how my daily meals would be for the next 90 days:
• Morning: Keto coffee or ½ pitted avocado with a boiled egg at the center. The avocado will be sprinkled with cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper, and baked for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.
• Lunch: Grass-fed burger with cheese and avocado. A side of spinach salad with 7 tbsp. Ranch dressing.
• Dinner: Grass-fed steak or rack of lamb. A side of 15x large Brussel sprouts or 1 cup of cauliflower rice.
As a rule of thumb, I make it a point to drink at least 3 liters of water every day. It is also important to obtain only organic, grass-fed meat.
Lastly, I always start each day (on fasting days I take them with my meal) with a dose of bioavailable multivitamins to fill any nutritional gaps. If you plan on doing the same in the future, just remember to go for all-natural and organic multi-vitamin because synthetic vitamins tend to have no oral bioavailability. New Chapter (the one I linked above) has a high oral bioavailability and is one of the best multis on the market.
To help me through my logging activities during the 90-day experiment, I’ll be using the following tools:
1. Precision Blood Ketone Meter — I use this to test my blood and confirm that I am in ketosis. This is the most accurate way to tell if you are in ketosis and what level of ketosis you are in. I don’t recommend the ketone strips for testing because they are inaccurate.
2. Google Sheets — This will be used to track my workouts and body measurements. I will make the 90-day experiment sheet public for everyone to see.
3. Zero — Finally, I’ll use the Zero app to help me stay on track during IF days.
Starting the experiment
That is it — I have now fully covered the details of my 90-day Keto & IF experiment.
The next step is to go through the next three or so months with determination and keen observation.
Hopefully, the outline above was enough to help you understand the framework of this experiment.
You do not necessarily have to follow every step to the letter, but it should help point you in the right direction.
If you have any questions or want to join me on this journey feel free to Tweet me here or send me an email at RandsBioHacks(at)gmail.com